Alexander Fiske-Harrison rss

Sneer of cold command: Velázquez’s portrait of the Count-Duke of Olivares, Philip IV’s ‘Ozymandias-like vizier’ (detail)

Spain’s golden age — with a silver lining

Spain: The Centre of the World, 1519–1682 Robert Goodwin

Bloomsbury, pp.608, £30, ISBN: 9781408830109

As every schoolboy knows, ‘the empire on which the sun never set’ was British, and ‘blue-blooded’ was a phrase applied to the nobility who ruled it for most of its… Read more

Britain's top military chief, General David Richards Photo: Getty

I guarded Rudolf Hess

15 November 2014
Taking Command General David Richards, with a foreword by Max Hastings

Headline, pp.384, £20, ISBN: 9781472220844

I had the misfortune to meet Lord Richards on probably the darkest day of his 42 years in the military. In July 2009 I went to visit the then Commander-in-Chief… Read more

Ernest Hemingway (Picture: Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Does the world need 17 volumes of Hemingway's letters?

26 October 2013
The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Volume II:1923-1925 Sandra Spanier and others

CUP, pp.515, £30, ISBN: 9780521897341

‘In the years since 1961 Hemingway’s reputation as “the outstanding author since the death of Shakespeare” shrank to the extent that many critics, as well as some fellow writers, felt… Read more

Alexander Fiske-Harrison enjoys a 'story slam' at the Edinburgh Fringe

25 August 2012

The Edinburgh Fringe is a place of youthful hopes, naive dreams and occasional flashes of genuine inspiration. Usually these turn out to be very much flashes in the pan. But… Read more


A good run

I have just finished running — with a thousand like-minded souls from around the world — down a half-mile of medieval city streets while being pursued by a half-dozen half-ton… Read more


Stronger than fiction

21 January 2012
Warrior: The Amazing Story of a Real Warhorse General Sir Jack Seely, illustrated by Alfred Munnings

Racing Post Press, pp.176, 14.99

I think it was a Frenchman — it usually is — who observed that the English love their animals more than their children. At first glance, General Jack Seely’s Warrior:… Read more